Popular Norfolk Broads sailing event cancelled after policy change

A busy weekend at Ranworth staithe on the Norfolk Broads. Picture: James Bass

A busy weekend at Ranworth staithe on the Norfolk Broads. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

A popular Broads sailing event has been cancelled after new rules on reserved moorings were brought in.

Wroxham-based Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust (WYC) usually offers a day of 30-minute trips from Ranworth staithe aboard one of its Edwardian wherry yachts, on the first Saturday of August, as part of a weekend of events.

But the Broads Authority has changed its policy by preventing moorings from being reserved to ensure fairness for all in accessing its network of free 24-hour moorings.

The Friends of WYC believes the wherries deserve particular consideration, and they want the authority to revisit the policy and consider a compromise so they can return for one day next year.

However, they remain committed to the overall weekend, which includes sailing day passengers to and from Ranworth as well as conveying the Bishop of Norwich to the St Benet's annual service on Sunday, August 5.

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Katy Walters, Chairman of the Friends of WYC, said: 'For our scheduled full-day sailings on the Friday, Sunday and Monday we hope to briefly nose the wherry into the dinghy dyke, so they will still run, but this is not practical to repeat several times over the day.

'We need a space that is safe for people to step on and off the wherry, and safe for the wherry to arrive and depart out of the way of other craft.'

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They still hope to raise donations from visitors on the Saturday at a WYC stall offering information at the staithe.

Rob Rogers, director of operations at the Broads Authority, said: 'The authority has reserved mooring space for events on a case by case basis and worked with organisations to help manage their mooring requests. Recently, there has been a large increase in reservation requests, especially at key mooring locations, which has meant we have had to review these arrangements.

'Broads Authority free 24-hour moorings are provided as a facility for all users of the Broads and demand for these sites is high, especially during the summer. Our decision to prohibit the reservation of mooring spaces is designed to be fair to all mooring users.'

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